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Curtis and First Person Arts Create a One-of-a-Kind Musical Storytelling Performance March 31

Exceptionally gifted young musicians learn to fuse the art of first-person storytelling into a live event

Event Details
Composing Our Lives: A First Person Arts Production with the Curtis Institute of Music
World Cafe Live (3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia)
Thursday, March 31, 2016 | Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8 p.m.
$10 ($5 for FPA members and Friends of Curtis) at the door.

PHILADELPHIA, PA—March 10, 2016—Two beloved Philadelphia-based arts organizations, the Curtis Institute of Music and First Person Arts, will join forces on March 31 to create a unique musical storytelling event. Storytelling experts from First Person Arts will work one-on-one with exceptionally gifted students at the Curtis Institute of Music to help them see themselves as storytellers, learn the facets of story structure, and incorporate their newly developed skills into an engaging fusion performance.
"Here at Curtis, I would say most of us students are very experienced with performing live music," says Curtis violin student Gergana Haralampieva, who performed in the premiere Composing Our Lives event in April 2015. "By learning to tell my own story on stage along with a musical excerpt thanks to First Person Arts, I've definitely learned to bring a new dimension and a more personal tone to my work. It was a fun new challenge, and an enriching experience, for sure."
Gergana's Composing Our Lives story was later featured on WHYY's NewsWorks and the First Person Arts Podcast, adding new accomplishments to the already very successful young musician's resume.
For the second Composing Our Lives event in March 2016, seven Curtis students will weave together their stories and music: Tessa Ellis, trumpet; Vartan Gabriellian, bass-baritone; Linzi Pan, piano; Neil Rao, percussion; Ashley Robillard, soprano; Sarah Tako, bassoon; and Yibing Wang, percussion.
"This is such a special collaboration," says FPA Executive Director Jamie J. Brunson. "We've worked with just about everyone. From Toni Morrison and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, to youth aging out of the foster care system, to everyday people at StorySlams. Now, it is such a pleasure and privilege to get to witness how these talented young musicians fuse real-life stories with their deep passion for music and performance."
"Before working with First Person Arts story coaches, I never really thought of myself much as a storyteller," says Brendon Elliott, a Curtis violinist and past Composing Our Lives participant. "I realize now that I do have a story to tell, and that storytelling is kind of a cool way I can relate to audiences, personally." 
Drawing upon 90 years of artistry, the Curtis Institute of Music pairs tradition and innovation, educating exceptionally gifted young musicians as artist-citizens who engage a local and global community through music-making of the highest caliber. Each year 175 students come to Curtis, drawn by a tuition-free, performance-inspired learning culture. In this intimate environment, they are nurtured by a celebrated faculty and inspired by the school's distinctive "learn by doing" approach, offering more than 200 concerts each year in Philadelphia, as well as performances around the world through Curtis on Tour. The extraordinary young musicians of Curtis graduate to join 4,000 alumni who have long made music history.
First Person Arts (FPA) is Philadelphia's premiere storytelling organization and the producers of the weekly First Person Arts Podcast and annual First Person Arts Festival. FPA believes that everyone has a story to tell, and that sharing our stories connects us with each other and the world. From such artistic luminaries as novelist Toni Morrison, activist Angela Davis, and celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, to everyday people at twice-monthly StorySlams, FPA presents a diverse array of storytellers in order to transform the drama of real life into memoir and documentary art. More information:
Composing Our Lives: A First Person Arts Production with the Curtis Institute of Music
Thursday, March 31 at 8 p.m.
Upstairs at World Cafe Live 
3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia
Tickets: $10 general admission, $5 Friends of Curtis and FPA members; available at the door beginning 7 p.m. on the evening of the concert.
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